Starworks Motorsport Earns Double Podium at the Glen, Confirms Three Car Effort
Six Hours of the Glen
Last weekend at Watkins Glen International Starworks Motorsport earned its first double podium finish of the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The No. 8 ORECA, driven by Renger van der Zande and Alex Popow finished first at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, repeating their 2015 win. The No. 88 Popcorn Sutton ORECA picked up its first podium of the season, driven by full time entry Mark Kvamme and new additions Remu Ruscitti and Richard Bradley.
Riding the momentum from a win at the Detroit Grand Prix last month, both cars performed strong leading up to the qualifying session, with van der Zande putting the No. 8 on pole position in the PC class. Kvamme qualified the No. 88 in seventh, with six full hours of racing to work though the field. Usually the race-closing driver, van der Zande started the race strong off the line, gaining a 22 second lead over the field in 20 minutes. The first full course caution of the event came within the first hour, minimizing van der Zande’s lead. Kvamme pitted from fifth position, passing the No. 88 on to Ruscitti. Van der Zande continued to lead until the end of his next stint, pitting to have Popow take over and rejoin in second.
As the field approached the halfway point, Popow and Ruscitti ran second and third, and shortly after, Ruscitti pitted to have Bradley turn his first laps of the race in third. With just under two and a half hours remaining, van der Zande resumed driving duties for the No. 8, rejoining behind teammate Bradley in third. Laying down flying lap times, van der Zande passed his teammate with two hours left on the clock, then moments later, he was again leading the race. In the final hour, the No. 88, having completed its final stop, ran fourth with Bradley and a series of cautions brought him to third for an intense battle with the No. 85 of Stephen Simpson. With mere minutes to go, Bradley made the pass for the final podium stop, celebrating with the team as the No. 8 took home the win.
Starworks Motorsport, with van der Zande and Popow now lead the IMSA Prototype Challenge Team and Driver Championships with five races left on the calendar. This week, the team journeys to Bowmanville, Ontario for the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, July 8-10.
Three Car Effort
Following the successful weekend at the Six Hours of the Glen, the team has confirmed it will add a car to run a three-car effort at three future races on the IMSA WeatherTech calendar: Lime Rock Park’s Northeast Grand Prix, Road America’s Road Race Showcase and Circuit of the America’s Lone Star Le Mans. Jose Gutierrez will compete in the car for all three races, with co-driving duties being split with Rayhall in at Lime Rock Park, and Yacaman in for Road America and Circuit of the Americas. Lime Rock Park begins July 23, with race day on July 24. For more information, visit imsa.com.
Watkins Glen Driver Quotes
No. 8 ORECA FLM09 // Qualified P1 // Finished P1
Renger van der Zande
I think the car was unbelievable. The whole year the car has been the fastest on track, and it’s nice we can improve it as well. The last stint I had was so easy and the car was so fast. Thanks to the team. It’s great how they get the set up so in tune. We don’t go testing, we just race and get the best out of it. We made a nice decision on the set up, and that’s a victory on its own. Alex did a great job keeping the car on track and doing fast laps. From P2 I could go back to the lead and peddle away. It’s nice to have the points we have going for us. We’re on a roll. I just want to keep winning races, and Alex is thinking about the championship. We’ll just keep doing both, and it’ll be nice.
It was a great race. Another win. Two in a row for Starworks at Watkins Glen. It’s a great result to have both cars on the podium. We’re very happy, and not just for the race, but for the championship. We have a good lead and a little peace of mind for the rest of the season. You never know, and we still have five races to go. It’s difficult and this championship is so tight. We have to fight each race as if it were the last championship. Renger doesn’t care too much about winning the championship, he just wants to win races. We have a good shot at the championship and we’re going to go for it.
No 98 ORECA FLM09 // Qualified P7 // Finished P3
It’s my first podium. It’s been great working with these guys. The whole Starworks team is fantastic. Richard and Remo really killed it. Richard had some bumper cars out there and did a fantastic job. It was a fabulous race.
It’s an amazing result for the team to have a first and a third place finish. From our Popcorn Sutton car to have their first podium at an event like the Six Hours of the Glen is fantastic. It was my first time racing in America and the team was great. They made me feel very welcome, as did the series. We definitely were quick and with a bit more luck from the yellows, we could have been up there and fighting for the win. We took a gamble on the fuel, and we’re very happy with P3.
It was an awesome weekend for Starworks Motorsports with a double podium. It was awesome to be here. It was my second weekend in a PC car, and it couldn’t have gone any better. Thanks to Peter, Tom and everybody who was on the car this weekend. I’m happy Richard was able to fight with the JDC car to get it at the end.